More Retractions, More Misconduct

Nothing to say here except thanks to DrugMonkey for the heads-up on spotting another case of misconduct causing extensive havoc in the scientific community – this time, Suresh Radhakrishnan, PhD, formerly at the Mayo Clinic Dept of Immunology. No word on whatever formal misconduct investigation may be in progress, but quite a list of affected articles, and some brief insight via the authors’ note to PLoS ONE:

An investigation by the Mayo Clinic has determined that one of the researchers in Professor Pease’s laboratory at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Suresh Radhakrishnan, tampered with another investigator’s experiment with the intent to mislead toward the conclusion that the B7-DCXAb reagent has cell activating properties. Using blinded protocols, experiments were done to see if the results based on this reagent could be replicated. Specifically, the repeat experiments examined the activation of dendritic cells, activation of cytotoxic T cells, induction of tumor immunity, modulation of allergic responses, breaking tolerance in the RIP-OVA diabetes model, and the reprogramming of Th2 and T regulatory cells. In no case did these repeat studies reveal any evidence that the B7-DCXAb reagent had the previously reported activity. The authors of this paper therefore wish to retract this paper because of the inability to reproduce key aspects of the studies and hence the results in them cannot be considered reliable.

The note in PNAS gives the scope: “In the course of this re-examination, we were able to study all the antibodies used in the various phases of our work spanning the last 10 years. None of these antibodies appears to be active in any of our repeat assays. We do not believe something has happened recently to the reagent changing its potency.”

Retraction: Suresh Radhakrishnan, Esteban Celis, and Larry R. Pease, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2005;102:11438–11443

Retraction: Radhakrishnan S, Cabrera R, et al. (2009) PLoS ONE 4(4): e5373

Retraction: Suresh Radhakrishnan, Loc T. Nguyen, Bogoljub Ciric, et al., The Journal of Immunology, 2003, 170: 1830–1838

Retraction: Suresh Radhakrishnan, Koji Iijima, Takao Kobayashi, et al., The Journal of Immunology, 2004, 173: 1360–1365.

Retraction: Suresh Radhakrishnan, Loc T. Nguyen, Bogoljub Ciric, et al., The Journal of Immunology, 2007, 178: 1426–1432.

Retraction: Suresh Radhakrishnan, Karla R. Wiehagen, Vesna Pulko, et al., The Journal of Immunology, 2007, 178: 3583–3592.

Retraction: Suresh Radhakrishnan, Rosalyn Cabrera, Erin L. Schenk, et al., The Journal of Immunology, 2008, 181: 3137–3147.

Retraction: Suresh Radhakrishnan, Laura N. Arneson, Jadee L. Upshaw, et al., The Journal of Immunology, 2008, 181: 7863–7872.

He has other publications and patents that may have some issues as well. Stay tuned.

21 Comments »

  1. Another busy motherfucking beaver!!!

  2. DrugMonkey said

    Of course the lab head, Pease, seems to have been awarded at least three R01s (four if you count renewal. plus a Bridge for that renewal) on the strength of the effect that has now been found to be unsupportable. Fascinating story.

  3. Do they pull Pease’s grant or does the situation just go right back to status quo?

    • writedit said

      Status quo at least until ORI and the OIG finish their investigations. I don’t expect any money would be given back since the PI was not the misconductor. Though the next Type 5 noncompeting renewal (NCI) could be interesting, never mind the Type 2 to NHBLI.

  4. CD0 said

    The misconductor was caught because the PI had doubts about his work, after some collaborators could not repeat his results. This is a sad story because the PI is a well respected scientist who had the terrible luck of employing a criminal. Apparently, the guy contaminated reagents to get data and did not stop when these reagents went for clinical testing. One could say that he should have supervised the experiments more closely, but the fact is that this could happen to anybody. In this case, the misconductor was just too crazy.

  5. bikemonkey said

    Doesn’t at least one of the retractions indicate the local institution found grounds for misconduct writedit? …and wouldn’t ORI keep it quiet until completed anyway?

    • writedit said

      Yes, that’s what I meant (until ORI releases its findings in the Federal Register, it’s status quo – no interim federal action & ORI will keep quiet despite the public retractions). Whether, as Genomic Repairman asked, money will go back to the NIH would depend on OIG action, I believe. But, as I mentioned above and CDO notes, the PI is not the wrong doer so should not have to repay money for work he did not realize was fraudulent … though continuing to receive funding based data obtained with tampered reagents will be difficult. In the meantime, given Radhakrishnan has disappeared from the Mayo Dept of Immunology directory, it seems the institution has come to a faster conclusion and taken on the misconduct than occurred at UWash.

  6. SaG said

    These misconduct cases seem to be getting worse.

  7. radhs1 said

    This is indeed the saddest time. During this whole process, irreparable damage has been done to-both professional and personal reputation of -Dr. Pease, Pease laboratory members, and me. The Investigation committee conclusion is, based on multiple- guilt by association and corroborative-evidences. Because of lack of significant alternative explanations, this conclusion seems appropriate.
    The analysis of risk- to – benefit ratio associated with falsification of data would have discouraged me from performing such actions, both in the past and in the future. Moreover, the alleged modus operandi of the falsification process excludes all form of rationalization. For instance, I am aware that presence of laboratory personnel, including me, can be monitored by a video camera, as demonstrated by Dr. Pease on
    May, 2009. The alleged contamination act performed by me was on July 2009. The lab technician was present in the laboratory at the time of my alleged addition of the chemical. Because of the pure fear of being observed and therefore getting caught, as Dr. Pease might have a camera in Mike laboratory, I would not have had the courage to perform the alleged action. Moreover, the presence of Mike at close proximity would have again caused enormous fear in me of getting caught red handed. Therefore, I would have avoided such actions.
    It should be emphasized that the invaluable interactions with Dr. Pease made me always believe that data will take care of itself and there exist a mechanism that cause self-correction: if it is true, it shall withstand the test of time; if it is not, it will not stand the test of time. Extraordinary mentoring by Dr. Pease has always made me follow highest standards regarding the performance of experiments.
    In this context, I wish to state two examples that underscore the conceptual verification of our findings. First, we observed that T-bet, a transcription factor expressed in mouse dendritic cells was required for the conversion of mouse T helper cell phenotype, which was outside the paradigm at that time. In support of this idea, a recent article in the Journal of Immunology describes the effect of expression of T-bet in human dendritic cells and the requirement of the expression for conversion of human T helper cell phenotype. Second, we had compelling data to conclude that the T cell repertoire is shaped by the selecting MHC molecule which was again an outside-the-box finding. However, recent inconsistencies observed with respect to the antibody functions precluded the finding from being published in a peer-reviewed journal including Nature or Science. Recently, Ted Hansen’s group from Washington University School of Medicine published their observation that was similar to ours in the journal Science. These examples highlight the existence of self-correction process of data. Moreover, it would have required supernatural abilities on my part to see the future in an attempt to falsify the outcome as there was no existing precedent to the observation. However, the recent observations of functional inconsistencies exhibited by the antibody are a matter of grave concern.
    However, I do not have an explanation for the current loss of effect of the antibody preparation. It could be due to a combination of factors that are described below
    The concomitant presence of mutants species that fails to bind, or bind inappropriately or block the binding of the agonist version of the antibody species present in the serum derived antibodies. This was shown to be not the case as, the serum derived from the original bleed failed to cause detectable functional effects on the dendritic cells. However, this could be vaguely attributed to the shelf life of the antibody preparation. The shelf life prediction made by us, based on the interpretation of the data from the experiments performed initially, may not reflect accurately the actual shelf-life. Identification of detectable proteins in the serum by biochemical methods do not always positively correlate with the functional ability of the antibody. This might be a potential reason for the precipitous drop in functional consequences of the antibody binding on dendritic cells.
    As most of the findings were based on initial observations made by me, it shall be in my best interest if I can manipulate the antibody in such a manner that it induces positive effects, including phosphorylation events, consistently, regardless of the person performing the experiment or the nature of the dendritic cell culture. Therefore, it shall be highly prudent, and extremely comfortable, on my part to adulterate the original antibody stock vials present in the freezer during the wee hours of any morning in general, and weekends in particular. After all, I am the “ da man”. HOWEVER, I DID NOT COMMIT THE ACT.

    In short, if I was instrumental in falsification of the data, it is my responsibility to assure that EVEN THE FALSIFICATION occurs in a reproducible manner without any intra and interpersonal variations. Therefore, I would have adopted the “whatever-it-takes” approach to my alleged corrupt actions in a manner that safe-guards my vested interest. HOWEVER, I DID NOT.

    Summary:

    Taken together, I would like to restate my innocence with regard to the alleged claim. I would not have nor will I carry out an act that will cause irreversible damage to the pride and prestige of the following people and Institutions: A: My SON B: Dr. PEASE. C: Pease laboratory Members. D: the Mayo Clinic. E: The United States including NIH. F: My mother land, India G: MY FATHER H: my family members. I: My teachers

    • microfool said

      yikes.

    • Physician scientist said

      I think this guy might have a psychiatric issue.

    • This dude is a nutter butter.

      • Suresh said

        Cursory look at history should reveal ample number of examples describing an act and the person as “crazy” and “nutter butter” when the act cannot be explained within the scope of the prevailing paradigm at that given time. Enough said.
        Suresh

  8. science said

    The misconductor seems not to feel guilty for what he has done to years of work by his colleagues, his mentor and to the reputation of his workplace. But going down history, he is known to have employed similar technique of creating false data in his previous institutions as well. This is clearly serial killing of science ethics. Institutes should have stronger regulations, not letting such people get off easily.

    • Suresh said

      I agree. More regulations are necessary to prevent fraudulent science.

      • science said

        Do you mean, your fraudulent science? We are discussing abt U!

  9. Suresh said

    I reiterate my sincere gratitute and respect towards Dr. Pease, Mayo Clinic, and the members of Pease lab is unabated.

  10. science said

    8 years of research by your colleagues has gone down the drain. Their career, their publications, the reputation of Dr. Pease, millions of dollars of research grant, a clinical trial abandoned. And all he has to say is crap. Not an iota of conscience. No regret! Talk abt gratitude and respect when cant keep up simple work ethics.

  11. mayo clinic Rochester said

    Interesting, I recently met another researcher from Mayo Clinic Rochester, it seems as if these folks have no understanding as to basic research, and are masters at making people think otherwise. The person I know, has become very arrogant, puts down others who dont publish in Plus One or top journals, and it seems he has less understanding of science than a basic high school student. It is almost like he excels in fraud. this type of false research junk , . might be entering top journals, which is scary!!!! Its a mentality of cheating.

  12. VINOD P S said

    Dr.Suresh is known to me for the past 20 years and as far as his personal integrity is concerned impeccable and he has no ambtition with regard to money or fame and he take his work vey seriously without any prejudice or predetermined results.During his college days he has been a man going after the basics of immunology and he has strived very hard to reach where he is.Probabaly there ouwld hav been an unintended error in interpretaion ,the results would be a new finding the process of which would get discovered in times to come.During his college days he was a man who will never accept falsehood or indulge in false hood.

  13. Guest said

    My concern with these forums is how viable some of the statements are…

    How do we know people like VINODD P S isn’t Suresh himself posting support for his cause? How do we know the person posting as Suresh is really Suresh and not some random guy taking the fun out of all this.

    In any case, this researcher is an absolute disgrace – to his lab, institute and his very own people. As of Jan 2012, he has now 9 out 14 papers retracted. Who’s to say his other 5 papers has no involvement of scientific misconduct.

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